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Dyn Might Have Been Collateral Damage in Mirai Attack on Gaming Infrastructure

Brought to you by IT Pro
The Mirai botnet launched a record 620 Gpbs attack against Dyn last October, but according to new research the DNS provider may not have been the intended target.
A team of researchers from Google, Cloudflare, Merit Networks, Akamai, and several universities released a report at the Usenix conference last week which analyzed the Mirai botnet and found that the attacker was likely targeting gaming infrastructure, including the PlayStation network, but incidentally disrupted service to Dyn’s broader customer base.
Report: Mirai Remains Threat as Hackers Repurpose Botnets
“Although the first several attacks in this period solely targeted Dyn’s DNS infrastructure, later attack commands simultaneously targeted Dyn and PlayStation infrastructure, potentially providing clues towards attacker motivation,” the researchers said. “Interestingly, the targeted Dyn and PlayStation IPs are all linked to PlayStation name servers— the domain names ns.playstation.net resolve to IPs with reverse DNS records pointing to ns.p05.dynect.net, and the domain names ns.playstation.net resolve to the targeted PlayStation infrastructure IPs.”
“The attacks on Dyn were interspersed amongst other attacks targeting Xbox Live, Microsoft DNS infrastructure, PlayStation, Nuclear Fallout game hosting servers, and other cloud servers. These non-Dyn attacks are either ACK/GRE IP floods, or VSE, which suggests that the targets were

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How to Bring Better Internet Access to Rural America

(Bloomberg View) — Of the many divides between urban and rural America — political, cultural, sartorial — the hardest to justify may be technological. Fast internet service is a necessity of modern life, yet it is far rarer for rural residents than for city dwellers. The government can help bridge this gap.
Some 39 percent of the U.S. rural population — 23 million people — lack access to fast broadband service, compared with only 4 percent of urban residents.  The consequences are more serious than missing out on the latest Netflix series. Lack of reliable access to the internet makes it much harder to look for a job, for example, or to enroll in or take a class. For small businesses, a slow connection can be devastating.
London Connectivity “Not Spots” Limiting City Competitiveness: Report
The problem is that it is expensive to wire (nowadays, it’s usually fiber optic cable) remote areas, and returns can be decades away. So it’s hard to attract private investment. The good news is there is broad bipartisan support for investment from the federal government. The bad news is that the government, unsurprisingly, is not using the money as wisely as it might.
There have been plenty of pledges from government officials over the years to deliver better broadband service more widely. But the traditional approach of handing out subsidies has often resulted in funding the wrong projects at the wrong price. (It’s worth noting that the U.S. is

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Tech Goes From White House to Doghouse in Trump’s Washington

(Bloomberg) — Google once had Barack Obama’s ear, served as a revolving door for White House staff and saw its political agenda advance. In Donald Trump’s Washington, some conservatives say it’s gotten so powerful it should be regulated like a public utility.
Google is not alone in a fall from grace. Tech companies  — including Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. — that were previously lauded as innovators are facing increased scrutiny over their size, their hiring practices and whether online news feeds skew liberal.
“The mood in Washington, at least on the right side of the aisle, is more critical of companies like Google and Amazon,” said Fred Campbell, a former Republican FCC aide and director of Tech Knowledge, which promotes market-based policies.
The shift in tone comes as Congress and the Trump administration consider changing tax, energy and immigration policies important to Silicon Valley. A regulation that protects data flows is already slated for gutting by the Federal Communications Commission, and, in Congress, a law has been proposed that would bring internet companies under a privacy regulator. Another would increase legal liability for website operators as a way to combat online sex trafficking.
As Tech Execs Rally Around Kushner, Government Cloud Adoption Still Has Ways to Go
Meanwhile, tech’s made no secret of its distaste for Trump policies. Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Inc. and Facebook issued critical statements after

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Keep the Internet’s Backbone Free from Censorship

(Bloomberg View) — It was inevitable that the fallout from violent protests in Virginia organized by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups would extend to the virtual world of the web. The internet is our modern commons. But the past few days have shown how fast we can glide down the slippery slope to web censorship.
Facebook and Twitter were perfectly within their rights, legally and ethically, when they banned accounts of certain hate groups and their leaders. These are private companies enforcing their own rules about how their services and platforms can be used. Providers of web infrastructure, however, must be held to a stricter standard since they act as choke points that can prevent an individual or group from being able to express themselves online.
Cloudflare CEO Says Company Could Not Remain “Neutral” as it Bans Daily Stormer
Soon after the Charlottesville events, domain name registrars GoDaddy and Google separately decided to no longer serve the Daily Stormer after the neo-Nazi site wrote a disparaging story about Heather Heyer, the woman who died after being struck by a car while protesting the Charlottesville rally. Registrars act as a sort of phone book for the internet by turning a raw IP address — like 62.23.150.94 — into a line of text, like “Bloomberg.com.” Without GoDaddy or Google, it would be impossible for people to find the Daily Stormer online. Shortly afterwards, CloudFlare, which offers firewall services for

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Cisco Outlook Shows Robbins Turnaround Hasn’t Spurred Growth

(Bloomberg) — Cisco Systems Inc., whose machines form the backbone of the internet, predicted another revenue decline as the company tries to remake itself amid a changing networking industry.
Revenue in the current period may decline as much as 3 percent from a year earlier, the San Jose, California-based company said. That indicates sales of as little as $11.98 billion and compares with an average estimate by analysts for $12.1 billion. Net income in the fiscal first quarter, which ends in October, will be 48 to 53 cents a share. On average, analysts project earnings of 52 cents.
Cisco’s transition into a company that’s less dependent on hardware is hurting its overall growth as the software and services businesses that Chief Executive Officer Chuck Robbins is trying to build take time to gain ground. The company still gets the biggest chunk of revenue from high-priced hardware and that’s a challenge during an industry shift toward cheaper, software-based networking.
“It’s a big company and this kind of transition just has to be a gradual one,” said Simon Leopold, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates. “People will be patient. If you ask me how patient, I can’t say.”
Cisco shares fell 3.7 percent to $31.14 at 10:03 a.m. in New York Thursday. That brought its gains for the year to 3 percent, compared with a 17 percent gain by the Nasdaq Composite Index.
Cloud Competition
Robbins is working to restore the kind of growth that made Cisco one of

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Massive New ‘Locky’-Variant Ransomware Attack Now Underway

Brought to you by MSPmentor
A massive, worldwide ransomware attack is currently unfolding, powered from more than 11,625 distinct IP addresses in 133 different countries, experts at cyber security vendor Comodo said today.
The campaign was first detected on Aug. 9, and more than 62,000 phishing emails related to the attack were detected at Comodo-protected endpoints alone, as of Friday.
Emails use social engineering to induce users into opening a docx, pdf, jpg, zip or other file, containing the ransomware, dubbed “IKARUSdilapidated,” after a phrase that appears in the code string.
“If the user does as instructed, the macros then save and run a binary file that downloads the actual encryption Trojan, which will encrypt all files that match particular extensions (including the common ones on most machines),” Comodo researchers wrote in a report that was provided to MSPmentor in draft form, because it is still being completed. “Filenames are converted to a unique 16 letter and number combination with the .locky file extension.”
Locky is a very common type of ransomware that emerged in 2016 and has been used in a wide range of cyber attacks since.
“The attachment is an archive file, with the name ‘E 2017-08-09 (580).vbs’ where 580 is a number changing for each email and vbs is an extension which varies as well,” the report says.
Many endpoint protection solutions have been updated to detect Locky ransomware but as a new variant, emails containing

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Cloudflare CEO Says Company Could Not Remain “Neutral” as it Bans Daily Stormer

In an unprecedented move by Cloudflare, the DDoS protection provider has fired neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer as a customer, following a string of similar moves by web hosting firms earlier this week.
In a decision announced Wednesday, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said that it terminated Daily Stormer’s account and is taking measures to “ensure they cannot sign up for Cloudflare’s services ever again.”
“Our terms of service reserve the right for us to terminate users of our network at our sole discretion. The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology,” Prince said in a blog post. “Our team has been thorough and have had thoughtful discussions for years about what the right policy was on censoring. Like a lot of people, we’ve felt angry at these hateful people for a long time but we have followed the law and remained content neutral as a network. We could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare.”
See also: String of Web Hosts Boot Neo-Nazi Website Daily Stormer
Cloudflare has run into criticism before for its neutral stance, but it’s not the only internet services company that has had to grapple with similar decisions. Recently, Shopify had to defend its decision to provide services to Breitbart, the controversial right-wing website.
In a 2013 interview, Cloudflare CEO Prince said that he doesn’t believe his political

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Equinix Makes Big Bet on Fuel Cell-Powered Data Centers

Brought to you by Data Center Knowledge
Two years after it did a pilot fuel-cell installation at one of its Silicon Valley data centers, Equinix is making a big bet on the technology, which uses a chemical process to convert natural gas to electricity.
The Redwood City, California-based data center provider today announced a deal that will see fuel cells installed at 12 additional US data centers. The deal will be financed by the utility Southern Company, with whom Equinix signed a power purchase agreement for a total of about 37MW of generation capacity, which will be the largest single deployment of fuel cells for data centers to date.

The fuel cells will be supplied by Bloom Energy, a leader in the market whose energy servers have been deployed on corporate campuses, at data centers by eBay, Apple, NTT, CenturyLink, and at two Verizon data centers Equinix took over when it acquired the large data center portfolio from the telco earlier this year.
Fuel cells produce significantly fewer carbon emissions than traditional gas-fueled power plants; they also don’t require water, unlike power plants, which consume massive amounts of water to generate energy. Apple has made fuel cells part of its corporate sustainability program, using Bloom’s technology to provide 10MW of capacity for its Maiden, North Carolina, data center campus.
The technology, which produces energy on-site, is also considered more reliable than America’s old, outage-prone electrical grid. eBay

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